Doctoral candidate Martijn J. Van Kelegom's first taste of the College of Communication and Information (CCI) was during a student exchange program in 2002. He visited the University of Tennessee and took psychology and communication courses as a business information systems major at the University of Amsterdam.
“I figured IT was a bit of a nerdy subject, so if I could work on some communication skills, that would probably be more marketable,” says the Utrecht, Netherlands native. “And then I found out I really liked it.”
In fact, Martijn liked CCI courses and faculty so much that he returned in 2005 to complete the master's program with a concentration in Communication Studies. To tie in his IT background, his capstone project investigated how groups make decisions when using videoconferencing technology.
Upon graduation, Martijn returned to Utrecht to work for Sara Lee International’s employee productivity center, giving input on videoconferencing and group online meeting tools.
“At first I was just happy to be done with school and start work,” he says. “But in that first year of working there, (I started) realizing that there was another step I can take.”
In 2009, Martijn enrolled in CCI’s doctoral program. Since returning, he has taught public speaking and group communication courses, and represented CCI on the Graduate Student Senate as chair of the Communications Committee.
“I see myself very much as somebody who crosses disciplines, who looks at communication from the work and management background that I have, and at the same time when I’m in an organization, looks at the business processes that happen from that communication perspective,” he says.
Martijn says that working between degrees granted him a broader perspective while in school.
“I’m not limited to an academic mindset,” he says. “I see how it needs to be applicable in some sort of way.”
Martijn’s dissertation focuses on imagined interactions and rehearsal practices for anticipated exchanges. He developed an interest in the topic after repeatedly being asked to help friends prepare for job interviews.
“As I talked with people, they didn’t have the right mindset. They failed to see that it’s about how they sell themselves. They don’t plan for conversation,” he says.
Martijn’s research explores why there are discrepancies between imagined and real interactions, and where and how imagined interactions occur during the planning process.
“I’m hoping to take steps toward answering those questions,” he says.
Martijn is expected to graduate May 2014 with a Ph.D. in Communication and Information and a minor in Statistics. His committee includes Kenneth Levine, Michael Kotowoski, Courtney Wright and Ramon Leon (Statistics).